A few days ago, I shared KATOH’s thoughts on the college players who were drafted (and not drafted) in this year’s amateur draft. There were hundreds of them. Many of the players with very good projections went in the first round, including Nick Senzel, A.J. Puk and Cody Sedlock. But the player with the very best KATOH projection fell all the way to the 10th round. The end of the 10th round. That player is Dakota Mekkes, whom the Cubs drafted with the 314th-overall pick out of Michigan State.
Mekkes was straight up filthy this past season. Pitching in the Big 10, Mekkes struck out a remarkable 96 batters in just 57 innings without surrendering a single home run. The catch is that he pitched exclusively in relief — though he wasn’t used like a typical reliever, and actually pitched more like a starter in some cases. Mekkes averaged over two innings per appearance in relief, and frequently threw many more than that. Most notably, he tossed six shutout innings in an extra-inning game against Maryland. Unlike most college relievers, he wasn’t a one-inning guy, which helps explain why KATOH likes him more than most relievers.